Australian Outback Spectacular was originally conceptualised over nine years ago by Chairman of Village Roadshow Theme Parks and Executive Producer of Australian Outback Spectacular – Mr John Menzies who identified the opportunity to promote Australian culture to domestic and international visitors.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks' over-riding strategy is to grow tourism to the Gold Coast which produces positive results for its other Gold Coast theme parks and the region generally.
John joined Sea World as a professional water skier in 1971. After 12 months however, he and Keith Williams decided to further develop the park and introduce the marine animal element. Following a trip to USA theme parks in 1973, John recognised the potential of Sea World becoming a major theme park and catalyst for Gold Coast development over the next decade. John soon assumed responsibility for the marketing direction of the park as well as the all important selection and design of rides, shows and attractions. He was also instrumental in the design and development of the Hamilton Island Resort Complex in the Whitsunday Island group prior to Pivot Group acquiring Sea World in 1984. At this stage he held the position of Managing Director.
John recognised Pivot's vision to revitalise the park via a public float (Sea World Property Trust) and it was agreed that John remain as Managing Director to lead the next development stage - he was the architect of a three year growth plan which saw an additional $20M injected into attractions and facilities, resulting in Sea World's attendance almost doubling in four years. John also conceptualised a Sea World hotel after observing the successful Disney theme park formula, resulting in the Sea World Nara Resort, a 400 room hotel, which opened in 1988.
In 1988/89, as Gold Coast visitor numbers grew (largely attracted by Sea World), John saw the potential in developing a 'second gate' or additional major attraction for the Sea World Property Trust. In 1989 Sea World co-ordinated a three way partnership with themselves, Village Roadshow Ltd., and Warner Bros. to develop a film related theme park - Warner Bros. Movie World. The deal included the acquisition of the adjacent Wet 'n' Wild Water World complex.
John was selected by the partners to become Chief Executive Officer and co-ordinate the design, construction and operational staffing of this exciting and unique attraction. A new management team was put in place at Sea World.
Warner Bros. Movie World opened in 1991 and after a very successful first year the Pivot Group sold their interest in Sea World and Warner Bros. Movie World to the other two partners (Warner Bros. & Village Roadshow).
John was then positioned as the Group Chief Executive Officer responsible for Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Sea World Aviation, Wet 'n' Wild Water World and the Sea World Nara Resort.
His outside interests include motorcycling, snow-skiing, boating and flying. John holds a commercial pilot helicopter licence and regularly assists Sea World Aviation with their charter and joyflight operation.
In 2009, John was promoted into the the position of Chairman of Village Roadshow Theme Parks.